Oct. 31st, 2012 06:42 pm
keaalu: (Default)
[personal profile] keaalu posting in [community profile] good_as_gold
(Original post date: November 06, 2008.)

This is actually day 6's. It am grossly belated, because I are crap. But here we go anyway! Still playing catchup. Shouldn't keep going out, ah me.


     As Kolek had said, the second – quite unexpected! – windfall had been tucked safely away in the empty servants’ quarters. The Boss had ambled his leisurely way down there to inspect it – well, it wasn’t exactly going to be going anywhere – and considered what significance it might have in the grand scheme of things. Kolek had suggested it might be female, to start with, which suggested it was – hypothetically – related to the other(s). Which meant… what? Daughter? Unlikely. Sister? Possibly, they seemed to all call each other as some form of sibling… and yet that too seemed incorrect.

     Finally, he came up with… wife. As distasteful as it seemed – bordered rather strong on something unpleasantly incestual, in such a small, close family – it did nonetheless seem to tally with what he knew of them. What he knew of Sei. The stupid flop-haired monstrosity had pined long hours (which he could have spent doing something useful) for his silly ‘wife’, back when they’d been stuck in Bubble City, and the Boss felt the urge to get back at the silly tart almost as much as he wanted to get his own back on the Eumin council, and the stupid black scarecrow. If not for her, Sei would probably have been quite happy and comfortable living in the bubble, like any other normal, law-abiding citizen, nowhere near as determined to get out at all costs.

     Of course, there had been every chance that the damned creature had been eaten anyway. That old idiot Councillor Bor had been determined to get Sei to think that, the entire time he was staying with them – don’t struggle to get away, don’t exert yourself, don’t risk our lives on your silly experiments! Your wife is in all likelihood dead, chewed up and swallowed down by the nasty little cannibals living at the surface, and no matter that she is indigestible! It will only be after she is dead that they discover their mistake! Obviously the little stick of gold paint had managed to survive – perhaps she’d found something more valuable to them than her plasticky meat! Perhaps a quick flash of her curves had been enough – perhaps they’d wanted something more from her. He almost laughed at the idea, and the horrified look he imagined on Sei’s face. And ohh, what if he’d found her in the act? Servicing the potency of the tribal elders, each and every worthless hole on her body filled by their thick, hard black tools- He laughed aloud at the idea. Maybe he could think of something comparable to present to her idiot husband when they finally made contact and snatched him away, to complete the set. He would pay a king’s ransom just to see the way the aghast lips would part and the helpless whimperings that would simmer up out of the broken voicebox.

     Soo… he’d have to think up something suitably imaginative, demeaning and debasing, for her as well. It was quite a strange sensation, having a significant portion of – if not all of – the machine’s family here. All here, and all at his mercy. Whatever he elected to do, they would have no way to counter it. He smirked to himself, satisfied. Now all he had to do was to capture the final element in his collection, and…

     Time for thinking would come later. He wanted to get a good look at what he’d been presented with, first of all, now he was here. He ran his tongue over his lips, thoughtfully; first imagined the long straight nose as blunter, softer, with thick, full lips and long eyelashes. She’d have to be pert, as well – an ample chest, rounded hips, a firm little bottom.

     He thumbed the panel to bring the lighting up a little, and inspected the surveillance screen alongside the door. At first, he couldn’t see it – her? Whatever – and guessed she must be hiding. Not that there were many places to hide, of course; running his thumb idly over the touch-panel, the camera angle slowly changed, and yeah, there she was. Tucked neatly away down the side of the narrow bed, a huddled little figure, curled up. Hmm. He pursed his lips, critically. Not what he’d been expecting – of course, the hood obscured the face, and the curled way she sat disguised her outline, but she did not look anything like ‘pert’!

     The Boss released the door, and stepped over the threshold. There was a little startled noise and the sound of movement, and he could see her trying to scoot deeper into her corner. He stood at the end of the bed, and studied her, critically; her long, narrow face was wet, but he didn’t feel even a prickle of concern at the idea she had been crying. Just a machine, he considered, critically. A poorly programmed, disobedient, stupid machine, loaded up with redundant technology.

     First of all, was it actually even female? It was slightly smaller than the other machine-bird he had known, with a smaller, finer nose and sleeker lines, but he could see no typically female traits to it – its chest was completely flat, not the slightest whisper of even the tiniest breasts anywhere to be seen, and its hips were slim and graceful but might as well have been drawn with a ruler. He guessed that it must be a species fault – there were plenty of others with flat-chested females, after all. He’d just… hoped… that it’d have been a little more alluring in looks. After all, for a creature that can be planned out to the very last inch? Can be given all the attributes a man might desire, and none of the flaws? It seemed pointless to make it so… bland. So dull.

     Although… there were plenty of mechanics-… no, surgeons, they called themselves… across the Coalition. Even that idiot black thing had delusions of grandeur and called himself “doctor”. He could always augment the little wisp of gold, a little bit... Shouldn’t take a lot of work, right, just to add a couple (or more) of soft mounds to the chest, fill out the hips a little, elevate the buttocks?

      My captive phoenix, he mused, nudging her snout with one curious finger. She responded sluggishly – slowly let her head turn back to the central position it had started out in. He grasped the slim nose more firmly in one hand, and turned it first this way, then that, as if examining a prime cut of meat. She didn’t whimper, didn’t complain, didn’t even attempt to resist. Good, well trained. Perhaps I can play this to my advantage. He felt his lips draw back in an involuntary smirk. Wouldn’t take long to cow the beast into obedience.

     Mirii had begun to lose track of how long she’d been sitting there when the man arrived. Or rather, to be more correct, it had begun to feel like she had been sitting there forever – abandoned, alone, in the dark and silent-

      Whatever must be happening to my poor Sei? Is this my fault? Have we been taken because of me? The thoughts were… unpleasant. Left her shaky, uneasy. The day would come that Sei ran out of patience with her!

     She had listened as the door had opened, and the footsteps had approached across the carpet and remained still for a moment or so. Then calloused fingers had grasped her nose, and turned her head from side to side, as if examining her. Checking for damage? Her capture had been rather rough, but not to such a degree it would have broken her. She resisted the desire to shy back, just in case they grew angry-

     “I am going to remove your headgear, now,” a voice told her, unanticipatedly gently, using an inelegant form of Commonspeech. “Are you calm? And will you remain calm?”

     She nodded, a single almost imperceptible movement of her head, and from her lips managed to force a thin murmur that sounded like “yes.” If they release me, permit me to see where I am and what they plan to do, I will do whatever they instruct!

     “Good girl,” the voice soothed, sounding pleased. “Sit still for a moment, then…”

     She felt the hands move to the nape of her neck, felt the lacings gently released, and there was a dying tingle as the inhibitor turned off, then there was a tugging sensation, and the heavy, leathery contraption was lifted carefully free. It felt so good to just feel air on her face again! She waited for the hands to move down to the bracer pinioning her arms, but for now they left it in place.

     “There,” the voice said, growing slightly more distant as the stranger straightened up. “Are you well? Are you functioning?”

     After a further moment or two feeling trapped in limbo, hardly daring to open her eyes for fear of what she might see – some terrible, ugly, brutish creature, covered in scars, wearing feathers and teeth stolen from fallen Kiravai… No, if they were so terrible, they would have attempted harm to her already, not spoken to her in soft tones and touched only gently. She overcame her nerves, opened her eyes a tiny chink, and gave her assailant/liberator a very brief visual scrutiny.

     The stranger was smaller than her, but not significantly – she estimated the crown of his head would come to her shoulder – and more ‘compact’ than her elongated lines, with a smaller trunk and stouter limbs, so they probably would have weighed similar, had she not had the added mass that came with a synthetic body. Unusually, he had four upper-limbs, the upper pair very slightly larger than the lower – like Councillor Brennan and his wife, Mirii noted. She wondered if they were the same species. Eumin, wasn’t it?

     “What do you want?” she asked, shrinking back against the wall. She wasn’t sure what it was about him that made her so fearful – he wasn’t being overbearing, his voice was even and calming, his face was carefully bland. Everything looked calculated to be as non-threatening as possible. Was it solely the drama of her abduction? Was she seeing him on a par with the ones who had performed the actual capture? Because she didn’t recognise his voice from among the group of beings that had assaulted her.

     “Please leave me alone,” she said, softly, when he failed to answer her question.

     “You wish to stay in here all day?” he wondered, at last.

     “Yes,” she confirmed, scooting herself back another fraction of an inch. “If it means I am safe and left in peace, yes.”

     “You are afraid of me,” he observed, flatly, and sounded… disappointed? That seemed most strange, how could it be such a surprise to him? Mirii was quite satisfied that this was not just another of her cases of “mistaken intentions” – she’d got better at interpreting body language, since coming back from the small colony world she had spent such a disastrous time on with Sei, and didn’t think there was any way she could be misinterpreting such a violent assault on her person.

     “Forgive me,” he went on to apologise, softly. “I had not intended for you to be scared quite so badly.”

     “You attack me and are surprised I am scared?” she challenged, bravely, still trying to retreat further back into the wall. He was a very strange individual, what if this was a trick? “You place your painful restraints upon my person, and are shocked that I might not have enjoyed it?”

     “Ah, well… perhaps that was mistake. We used the head-cover in an attempt to keep you calm,” he said, looking like he was making a terrible admission. “We had heard it was effective for Kiravai prisoners-of-war, and extrapolated. We did not mean to harm you. And you are very strong, madam! We feared that you may lash out, if alarmed. But I can unbind your arms, now, if that is your desire?”

     Mirii nodded, just once; she twisted slightly to allow him closer, and tried not to tense up too completely as he leaned closer. She allowed him to loosen the binder, and slide her hands free of it. She felt a flash of horrible, black thoughts, and for a moment felt compelled to leap at him, incapacitate him, run to find her family, to help rescue them… She swallowed the thought. How could she even be thinking in such a way? To contemplate hurting someone? And that was aside from the fact that she had no idea where she was. Where exactly would she go? And they would only take further steps to restrain her, and may be even more comprehensive about it, leave her even more helpless, next time.

     She wasn’t going to allow her guard to slip, she decided, but at the same time didn’t react violently. And watching him cast the binder over into the corner by the door, she allowed herself to contemplate the unsavoury – what if he was being truthful? What if they had been genuinely concerned for her welfare? After all, she had been scared, true, but she had been calm. Perhaps it had been a logical thing to do, under the circumstances. Had she known where she was, she may have made greater efforts to escape – had she known where the door was, for instance, she may have been a lot more energetic in her efforts to get out. She may have damaged herself – or, heaven forbid, other people – in her effort to break her way free. And perhaps for no reason!

     No, she told herself. Normal people do not attack other normal people for no reason. There is always a point to it. It is either that one is angry at another, or one feels slighted, or has had a crime perpetuated against them, or one is simply… sick. Oh I hope he is not sick! My powers of reason are far from sufficient to keep me safe from sociopaths…! Perhaps if I attempt to placate him?

     “Thank you,” she murmured, softly.

     “For what?” he quirked his head to one side and smiled, faintly.

     “Being considerate enough to look out for my well-being, even if you have abducted me.” Mirii shifted, uneasily. “I should like to think you are not intending to harm me, either, now we have had the opportunity to speak.”

     “Whatever makes you think I would harm you?”

     “You kidnapped my brother and I. You would not have done so if it were a goal you could achieve by simply asking me to accompany you. Therefore, I am forced to conclude that you do not have pleasant intentions in mind. And-…” she shrank away. “I do not wish you to attempt coitus with me. I would only be forced to harm you to stop you.”

     He perked his head, puzzledly. She was scared he was going to try and rape her? Why would she think that? “Why ever would I attack you in such a manner?”

     “Because it is what animals do,” she whispered. “Even higher animals like yourself. It is what all Kirasau do. You desire sexual contact above all other things, and if you can not obtain it with a partner you have wooed and legally bonded with, you will attempt to do so by force.” She looked like she was on the point of crying again. “Please- …do not!”

     “I have no desire at all to harm you in any way, physically or sexually,” he promised. Psychologically, perhaps, but we shall not mention that just yet… “That was not why we brought you here. We left you in this room so you might be allowed to calm yourself. Now you are calm, we felt you may be more amenable to talking.” He offered a reassuring smile, and she seemed to relax a little.

     “So… please. Why have you brought me here?” Her gaze had finally stopped meandering around the room, and settled instead on him. “If you mean me no harm, what was the purpose to abducting me? What did you think you could achieve in this matter that you could not achieve by simply asking me to accompany you?”

     “Would you have accompanied me, had I asked?” he challenged, gently.

     She hesitated. “So long as you did not appear threatening? Probably,” she confirmed, warily.

     “And had your… brother? Had he said that you should not go, whose advice would you have taken?”

     “Why would he have asked that I not go with you?”

      Hm. Still suspicious. It was taking more and more effort to keep his genial smile fixed in place. “You do not know me,” he explained. “But I know you, madam, and I know that your guardian-… ah, excuse me, your brother… would not have allowed you to depart with a stranger. Such an act would go counter to his programming, and may have disrupted the experiment.”

     Her gaze actually flickered, uneasily. “I do not understand what you mean,” she explained, flatly. “What experiment?”

     “Ah! Forgive me, I have said too much,” he apologised, backing down, although the thrill of excitement that ran icy fingers up his back was quite delicious. “We intended to break the news to you when we were in a more comfortable environment, and alas, this is about as comfortable as this vessel gets. Please, forgive me, madam.” He bowed so steeply his nose almost brushed against the floor. “I had not intended that your rescue be so traumatic.”

     “Rescue? That was no rescue, you kidnapped me-!” Her tone of voice was almost pleading, however. Frightened.

     “I beg to differ.” He folded her hand into his own, and was intensely reassured when she didn’t immediately jerk her fingers away. “We removed you from an environment that was destructive to your wellbeing. All I regret is that we could not achieve the same ends in a more gentle manner.”

     He straightened, at last, and backed away.

     “I will leave you in peace, for a little while,” he promised, softly. “We will be arriving at a small world called Hah’zeept within a day or two, and I will explain everything to you when we arrive.”


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Good as Gold

February 2013

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